Christian Life Church gears up to celebrate silver jubilee
Guardian Lifestyles Editor
Published: Jun 13, 2013
It was in the 1980s that God placed a vision into the heart of Pastor Jay Simms to build a local church and Bible school where men and women could be trained for ministry without having to leave The Bahamas.
The efforts of the church began with seven adults and Simms’ four-year-old twin daughters meeting at the Simms’ apartment on Sunday, June 12, 1988, for a worship service. To date the Christian Life Church (CLC) presently hosts two weekend services which accommodate a regular attendance of close to 400 people, including a cross section of the population of New Providence. Its members are gearing up to celebrate the church’s 25th anniversary.
Celebrating under the theme “Together Embracing Our Destiny”, a special week of services to commemorate the occasion will be held June 20-23.
During the week a number of dynamic speakers will take to the podium to deliver messages — Bishop Walter Hanchell of Great Commission Ministries; Prophet David Wagner (Pensacola, Florida); Dr. Ivan Butler Jr., senior pastor, Kemp Road Ministries; Bishop Neil Ellis, senior pastor, Mt. Tabor Full Gospel Baptist Church, and Dr. Ronald Cottle (Columbus, Georgia), founder and president of Christian Life Educators Network.
Christian Life Church members will also celebrate with a banquet on Friday, June 28 at Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino. Cottle will speak at the anniversary celebration service on Sunday, June 30 at 3 p.m.
CLC members will conclude the church’s anniversary celebrations with a birthday bash to be held in the church’s parking lot from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 6.
“The mission of Christian Life Church is to connect people to Jesus to empower them for Christ-centered living,” said Simms.
“We believe that everyone needs to be linked to a small group of believers and to our weekend worship services, as well as activated through maturity, ministry and mission for our generation.”
Simms extended an invitation to all believers to come out and be part of the CLC anniversary.
“We firmly believe that we are better together,” said the pastor.
From the initial meeting of the few for that worship service that would begin the efforts for a church and school to equip Bahamian Christian believers for the work of ministry, the group increased to 28 the following Sunday. On June 26, they met at Poinciana Arena on Bernard Road and Christian Life Church was officially born.
“From those early days of the few people who had a longing for teaching of the word of God, for application of scriptural truths to daily living, with emphasis on equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, and to penetrate the local community for the Lord Jesus Christ, CLC has come a long way,” said Simms.
After meeting at Poinciana Arena, amid many challenges for approximately one year, the growing fellowship moved to Pilot House Hotel on East Bay Street for six weeks, then over to Lowe’s Harbour Cove Hotel on Paradise Island. They expanded to include children’s ministry. In June 1990, the young congregation moved into a storefront in Carey’s Shopping Centre on Prince Charles Drive. Simms said they finally had a stable location for a church home. And that it was there on January 17, 1991 that Christian Life School of Theology and Seminary International began with 21 students.
In September 1991, the Christian Life Church family moved into the front of the shopping center and doubled the size space, providing room for an office and budding children’s ministry. It was at that time that Simms negotiated the purchase of property on Soldier Road near the then Village Road roundabout, and the church looked forward to the future. In August 1997, they acquired another storefront making more space available to the growing flock.
In June 1996, Simms identified and negotiated the purchase of Sea Breeze Manor on Sea Breeze Lane as the future home for Christian Life Church and its rising ministries. The original owners of the property on Soldier Road refunded 100 percent of the payments to the church, and this was used as partial down-payment toward the acquisition of Sea Breeze Manor.
He said in October 1998, with God’s favor and the deal complete, the church was able to occupy the facility.
According to Simms, the Christian Life Church family continues to grow. He said among the more memorable and impacting occasions in the church’s history are the “40 Days Campaign” and that the church has hosted at least one regular radio program for many years. Christian Life Church has been the host for the weekly television ministry program “The Encouraging Word” for over 10 years.
The church serves as the home base for Christian Life School of Theology (CLST), which has inspired and trained both men and women for ministry from over 300 local churches across denominational lines for 22 years. These leaders have received certificates of ministry through the doctorate of theology and serve as lay ministers, pastors, teachers, and national overseers for denominations. CLST in Nassau currently serves as the covering for campuses located in Eleuthera and Andros and is the first international affiliate campus of the Christian Life Educators Network located in Columbus, Georgia.
The church purchased a portable classroom unit in the summer of 2003, to increase its ministry possibilities. The property became debt free early in 2007, and in 2011, Christian Life Church began the building of the first of two proposed two-storey wings for education, multi-purpose rooms and administration, and eagerly anticipates their future to the glory of God and to furthering His kingdom work in Nassau and beyond.
Over the years, Simms has traveled to a number of islands and countries and serves on the board of trustees of the International Third World Leaders’ Association. He is also a bishop with the ACTS Network and the Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee. His passion continues to be that of motivating believers toward maturity and ministry. To this end, CLC has hosted many preachers, teachers, apostolic and prophetic leaders, whose anointings challenge and inspire the body of Christ towards faithfully fulfilling its unique role in the work of the Kingdom of God.
“Christian Life Church has embraced the assignment from God of inspiring and empowering people to reach their God-given potential in all areas of their lives for successful everyday living because the mission of Christian Life Church is to connect people to Jesus to empower them for Christ-centered living,” said Simms.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 13 June 2013 20:22|